When your skin begins to wrinkle, sag, and make you look older than you feel, consider skin rejuvenation at Genesis Cosmetic Laser Center. At our state-of-the-art medical spa, Yuliya and her team of Medically Certified Aestheticians offer non invasive BotoxⓇ injections to diminish wrinkles and fine lines.
What is Botox?
Botox is a drug that weakens or paralyzes muscle. In small doses, it can reduce skin wrinkles and help treat some medical conditions.
Botox is a protein made from Botulinum toxin, which the bacterium Clostridium botulinum produces. This is the same toxin that causes botulism.
Botox is a toxin, but when doctors use it correctly and in small doses, it can have benefits. It has both cosmetic and medical uses.
As a cosmetic treatment, Botox injections can reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles.
Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved it as a treatment for various health issues, including eyelid spasms, excessive sweating, some bladder disorders, and migraine.
In this article, we explain how Botox works and explore its uses, side effects, and other risks.
Botox derives from C. botulinum bacteria, which are present in many natural settings, including soil, lakes, forests, and the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish.
Naturally occurring C. botulinum bacteria and spores are generally harmless. Problems only arise when the spores transform, and the cell population increases. At a certain point, the bacteria begin producing Botulinum toxin, the deadly neurotoxin responsible for botulism.
Botulinum toxin is extremely dangerous. Some scientists have estimated that 1 gram of a crystalline form of the toxin could kill 1 million people and that a couple of kilograms could kill every human on the planet. However, when Botox is appropriately used in a therapeutic context, it is safe and has few side effects.
Manufacturers make Botox injections with very small doses of Botulinum toxin. The drug can temporarily paralyze muscles, which can benefit people with various muscle or nerve disorders.
Commercial preparations of Botulinum toxin include:
- onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox)
- abobotulinumtoxin A (Dysport)
- incobotulinumtoxin A (Xeomin)
- rimabotulinumtoxin B (Myobloc)
- prabotulinumtoxin A (Jeuveau)
People casually use the term “Botox” to describe all of these products, though Botox is a registered trademark that is owned by Allergan.
How does it work?
Botox is a neurotoxin. These substances target the nervous system, disrupting the nerve signaling processes that stimulate muscle contraction. This is how the drug causes temporary muscle paralysis.
In order for any muscle to contract, the nerves release a chemical messenger called acetylcholine at the junction where nerve endings meet muscle cells. Acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the cells to contract or shorten.
Botox injections prevent the release of acetylcholine, which stops the muscle cells from contracting. In this way, the toxin helps the muscles to become less stiff.
The primary use of Botox is reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles. The effects are temporary, lasting 3-12 months, depending on the type of treatment.
People often request the injections in the following areas of the face:
- wrinkles between the eyebrows, called frown lines, glabellar lines, or elevens
- wrinkles around the eyes, known as crow’s feet
- horizontal creases in the forehead
- lines at the corners of the mouth
- “cobblestone” skin on the chin
However, the FDA have only approved the injections for use around the eyes and on the forehead. Some people also try Botox to improve the appearance of their hair.
Healthcare professionals also use Botox to treat a variety of medical conditions, most of which affect the neuromuscular system.
The FDS has approved Botox for the following uses. Unless otherwise specified, the approval is for use in people 18 or older:
- upper limb spasticity, in anyone older than 2 years
- crossed eyes, or strabismus, in those older than 12 years
- severe underarm sweating, or hyperhidrosis
- preventing migraine in people whose migraine headaches last at least 4 hours on 15 or more days per month
- reducing symptoms of an overactive bladder due to a neurological condition if anticholinergic medications do not help
- eyelid spasms, or blepharospasm, due to dystonia
- a neurological movement disorder called cervical dystonia that affects the head and causes neck pain
Some people also have Botox injections for off-label, or unapproved, uses, including treatments for:
- sialorrhea, which involves producing too much saliva
- dyshidrotic eczema, which affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
- anismus, a dysfunction of the anal muscle
- post-herpetic neuralgia
- vulvodynia, pain, and discomfort in the vagina without a clear cause
- Raynaud’s disease, which affects circulation
- achalasia, an issue with the throat that makes swallowing difficult
Other issues and medical conditions that may benefit from off-label Botox use include:
- facial redness and flushing, including during menopause
- keloids and scars from wound healing
- hidradenitis suppurativa, an inflammatory skin disease
- blistering lesions due to Hailey-Hailey disease, a rare genetic disorder
Yuliya uses Botulinum toxin by diluting the powder in saline and injecting it directly into neuromuscular tissue.
It takes 24-72 hours for the toxin to take effect. Rarely, it can take as long as 5 days for the full effects to show. They may last 3-12 months, depending on the treatment.
Does Botox hurt?
Botox uses ultra-thin needles, so you may feel a pinch, sting, or mild discomfort. The sensation is very brief and well tolerated by most men and women. In fact, the injections cause such little pain that you won’t need any anesthesia.
There’s no downtime, so you can return to your regular activities immediately afterward. Some patients report minor issues after the treatment like a headache, tenderness, or redness at the injection site. These symptoms are all temporary and resolve on their own within a few hours.
Risks and side effects
People generally tolerate Botox injections well, and side effects are uncommon.
However, depending on the reason for the injections and the person’s response, Botulinum toxin can cause some unwanted effects, including:
- dry eye, following cosmetic uses
- an upset stomach
- mild pain, swelling, or bruising around the injection site
- a headache
- temporary eyelid drooping
- temporary unwanted weakness or paralysis in nearby muscles
- urinary problems after treatment for urinary incontinence
- a worsening of neuromuscular disorders
- spatial disorientation or double vision after treatment for strabismus
- corneal ulceration after treatment for blepharitis
- cardiovascular events, such as arrhythmia and myocardial infarction
Am I a good candidate for Botox?
Botox is used extensively because it’s safe and effective for most men and women. However, if any of the following situations apply to you, it’s best to choose a skin rejuvenation therapy other than Botox:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Weak facial muscles
- Drooping eyelids
Yuliya will talk to you during your consultation about whether Botox is right for you.
Cost, time, and effectiveness
The cost of Botox depends on various factors, including:
- whether it is for medical or cosmetic purposes
- who provides the treatment
- where the treatment takes place
- the number of Botox units involved
When considering Botox for any reason, it is crucial to make sure that the provider is a qualified professional with the appropriate training. There are many “Spas” that do “Botox Parties” or have an “Injector” come in once a month. These “Injectors” usually work a Full-Time job in a hospital or nursing home and “Inject” as a side job. Please be very careful. Yuliya is a Certified Injector with thousands of injections. She does hundreds of injections every day.
To find out more about you Botox options, call the scheduling team at Genesis Cosmetic Laser Center at (843) 669-2220 to book your Free consultation with Yuliya.